10 Classical Principles of Organisation to Improve Workplace Efficiency

10 Classical Principles of Organisation to Improve Workplace Efficiency

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Jun 11, 2024 20:05 IST

The principles of organisation aim to create efficiency in organisations through proper division of labour, coordination, decentralisation and appropriate span of control. Though criticised for being rigid, they provided a foundation for evolving management practices.

principles of organisation

The principles of organisation largely refer to Lyndall Urwick’s and Luther Gulick’s succeeding contribution to management practices, propounded previously by Frederick W Taylor and Henri Fayol

Gulick had even modified Fayol’s administrative processes – Planning, Organising, Commanding, Coordinating and Controlling into POSDCORB. The acronym goes as planning, organising, staffing, directing, coordinating, reporting and budgeting. 

Both of these contemporaries – Gulick and Urwick, focused on the structure of the organisation. But Gulick further contributed to ten principles that determined an ideal organisational structure. 

Here are the 10 principles of organisation based on Gulick’s work. 

Specialisation or Division of Work

An organisation can function better when two factors are met. One is when the work is divided into smaller chunks, and second, is when those smaller bits are divided among the employees with specific and varied skills. All the processes under POSDCORB should be divided among different types of employees. 

For example, one actively involved in the planning process, does not necessarily have to be involved in the entire HR management process. The organisation should hire talent acquisition personnel in such a case. 

Another example is the division of work within the same department. The marketing manager should have members with relevant skills for completing various tasks such as email marketing, social media marketing, SEO, etc. 

Bases of Departmental Organisation

This principle of organisation refers to the creation of departments for differing tasks. There should be a specific team for accounting, marketing, HR, etc. 

Coordination Through Hierarchy

Much like the chain of command in Fayolism that flows from top to bottom, there should be coordination for all activities in a specific order. The point is to create efficiency in all processes through a hierarchy of tasks. 

For example, activities are related to decision-making process, usually exist with the top management. 

Such kind of hierarchy is described under the three levels of management

Deliberate Coordination

Deliberate coordination is required to respond to the changes in the business environment effectively. Some examples are resource allocation for different departments, coordination of tasks and collaboration, etc. This is important on an organisational level to meet broader goals. 

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Coordination Through Committees

Coordination through committees or groups is required for an organisation concerning policy-making, planning future business objectives, etc. Here the coordination of activities are not necessarily in a hierarchy but as a formal group. 

But roadblocks such as politics, favouritism, or similar are bound to occur, as it is mainly related to creating discussion forums or open platforms for relevant personnel. It may hamper the process of achieving the goals. 

Coordination in this principle of organisation is also required to facilitate communication across different departments. 

One of its significant benefits is that there is room for participation through which better decisions can be made. 

Decentralisation 

This organisational principle refers to the distribution of autonomy within the organisation. With such kind of accountability, it is easily possible to create efficiency through employee engagement. 

Decentralisation can also ensure that there is no abuse of power, as it democratises participates and creates a healthy transparency. 

In general, non-profit, government institutions, small businesses, etc., are able to benefit from this principle more. 

Delegation

Delegation does not end with the manager assigning tasks to the subordinates. It also is about the transfer of skills and a way to help the subordinates grow their decision-making skills. 

Delegation as an important principle of an organisation also exists across all levels, which means that communication, transparency, feedback and support are prerequisites. 

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Unity of Command

While autonomy can be provided to various departments, there must be a clear distinction of who is the authority. A common example of this principle of organisation is that one manager and not multiple should give the subordinates directives. This can avoid miscommunication and lead to efficiency. 
To understand more, you may go learn about the roles of the top-level management and see how authority exists there. 

Span of Control

So you know that there should be one manager for the subordinates. But how many subordinates should this manager ideally handle?

Known as the span of control, it is a decision to be made by the organisational structure. When more employees are under one manager, tasks can be divided well, but there will be miscommunication. On the other hand, when there are fewer subordinates under one manager, there is no miscommunication. Of course, this is a one-sided view. You can read more about it in our blog on the span of management

Line and Staff

This principle of organisation refers to the classification of functions through line and staff. Both must support meeting the desired goals. 

Line functions are typically at the forefront of the organisation, meaning that such departments are directly involved in achieving objectives. Sales, production, operations, etc are line functions. 

Now, staff functions support the line functions. Some examples are human resources, legal, etc.
You may further want to take up admin courses to learn the practicality of such functions. 

Parting Thoughts

These 10 principles of organisations have been modified to a great extent in recent times, as some criticisms regarding their rigidity leading to a lack of innovation are impossible to ignore. But you can refer to these principles of organisation as building blocks to creating efficiency back when management practices began to evolve. 

Today, principles such as diversification, personal growth promotion, healthy indoor spaces to reduce stress, etc., are more important in modern organisations.

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio